Dated: 10 October 2015

On 10th of every month, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) stages a silent sit-in protest against Enforced Disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir. In a situation where India has not ratified the International Convention For Protection of all Persons From Enforced Disappearances and the vagueness of India’s Domestic Law that does not enumerate Enforced Disappearance as an offence, the challenges in pursuing legal struggle is insurmountable. Nevertheless, the protests are held to keep our struggle against the power spirited and determined, and keep the memories of our disappeared kin alive. The bitter memory of enforced disappearances is now part of our collective memory, thus, as a nation we seek justice for the families and victims of Enforced Disappearances.
Enforced Disappearances violates multiple rights including the right to family life of the victim and his family. According to APDP, the denial of such rights has crossed the threshold of the ingredients that qualify torture. Apart from legal struggle for which APDP has been appealing to the United Nations, enforced disappearances deprive the families of sustaining a life filled with love and dignity. The wives, parents, especially mothers and children, and other relatives of the disappeared persons have faced hardships, which is immense in magnitude and very hard to reckon with. This includes financial and societal hardships. In addition, the family members of the victims have developed serious psychological and physical illness due to stress and sense of deprivation. In many cases, the sole bread earner in the family is disappeared whose loss has not only caused families to suffer the loss of livelihood but has also deprived them of a life of dignity
and respect. The families cannot afford decent education for their children; therefore, the children are deprived of their right to education as well.
The approach of the APDP towards the issues of the families is holistic. The APDP provides assistance to the families that includes providing for medical care, economic assistance and help in seeking education for the children of the disappeared.
Today again, we reiterate our demand for ratification of International Convention for Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. The ratification will help to bring out the special nature and circumstances in which such crimes are perpetrated and will make more evident the multiple rights that are violated as a result of an enforced disappearance. We also demand that law on enforced disappearance be passed by the Jammu and Kashmir legislature so that the vagueness and ambiguity in the Indian domestic penal provisions can be overcome.
To the struggle and resilience of the families to endure and emerge victorious in such circumstances, we salute their indomitable spirit to keep the movement against enforced disappearances alive.
Parveena Ahangar
Chairperson, APDP